Playoffs part deux: Tour unveils Q-school replacement strategy
By Stephanie Wei under Tour

Q-school grad Harris English receiving his 2012 PGA Tour card

I’ve gotta catch a flight to Atlanta for the Tour Championship (PLAYOFF FEVER!), so this is going to be quick (sorry I feel like I’ve been more on the run than usual these days, which seems strange since I’ve been home). The PGA Tour announced details — and lots of them; in fact almost all — for the tournaments, sites and dates for three of the events in 2013 that will comprise the newly-contrived Tour Finals, which will decide the 50 players who earn Tour “playing privileges” for the 2013-14 season and their “eligibility positions” under the Tour’s “enhanced qualifying system.”

That’s a nice way of saying: It’s been real, but see you later, Q-school. RIP. (I might cry at the end of the last one ever in December.)

In PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem’s press conference earlier Tuesday, he also revealed the previously-announced tentative format had been tweaked, adding a fourth event to the “Finals”. The details of said-event will be unveiled in the near future. What’s more, the Tour signed three 3-year sponsorship agreements with the title sponsors. Impressive.


Here’s the media blast:

PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem today announced the tournaments, sites and dates for three of the events in 2013 that will comprise the newly-created Tour Finals, which will finalize the 50 players who earn PGA TOUR playing privileges for the 2013-14 season and their eligibility positions under the TOUR’s enhanced qualifying system.  A fourth event will be announced in the near future.

Tournaments in Charlotte, N.C., Columbus, Ohio and a new one in Fort Wayne, Ind. will host the debut of the “ Tour Finals” next September.  The three host tournaments, in order of schedule, will be the Hotel Fitness Championship (Fort Wayne), Chiquita Classic (Charlotte) and Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship (Columbus).  Three-year agreements are in place for all three.

Details of the three announced Finals are highlighted below:

Date Tournament Site Location
Aug. 26 – Sept. 1 Hotel Fitness Championship  Sycamore Hills Golf Club Fort Wayne, Ind.
Sept. 2-8 Chiquita Classic The Club at Longview Weddington, N.C. (Charlotte)
Sept. 9-15 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship Ohio State University Golf Club / Scarlet Course Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 23-29 Fourth Finals Event TBA TBA

“With the introduction of this new qualifying process and four Finals events in 2013, the Tour is about to embark on the most exciting era in its 23-year history,” Commissioner Finchem said.  “The Finals will be the culmination of a season-long quest to secure a PGA TOUR card and will end the year in a new and exciting fashion.  Beginning in 2013, the Tour will clearly be the pathway to the PGA TOUR.

Yada, yada, yada…

Press conferences were held simultaneously in Fort Wayne, Charlotte and Columbus.

Yada, yada, yada…

In July, Commissioner Finchem outlined details of the new qualifying system that will result in the 50 PGA TOUR membership cards being awarded through the Tour, beginning with the 2013 Tour season:

Eligibility for the Finals will be as follows:

·         The top-75 money winners on the Tour money list at the conclusion of the Tour regular season.

·         Players who finish 126-200 on the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup points list at the conclusion of the PGA TOUR’s regular season.

·         Non-members who have earned enough FedExCup points based on their performance on the PGA TOUR to place them 126-200 on that points list.
The 50 PGA TOUR cards will be awarded as follows:

·         The 25 leading money winners on the Tour will be guaranteed cards at the end of the regular season.

·         Another 25 cards will go to those players who earn the most cumulative money in the four Finals events.

A Tour Finals money list reflecting earnings in the four Finals’ events will be in effect, with all players starting with $0.  For those in the Finals, a player’s finish on the Finals’ money list will determine his position within the PGA TOUR priority ranking, which is used to form fields for TOUR events, with two exceptions.  The Tour’s leading money winner during the regular season and the player who earns the most money during the Tour Finals will be fully exempt, meaning each is guaranteed a spot in PGA TOUR events the following season (excluding invitationals).  Both will earn invitations to THE PLAYERS.

The 48 remaining players will be slotted next in priority after the top 125 off the FedExCup points list.  The 2013-14 PGA TOUR season will start in October, 2013.

The field size for all four Finals’ tournaments is projected to be around 144 players, depending on overlap between players and other eligibility for the PGA TOUR.  The tournaments will have purses of $1 million, with first prize being $180,000.

They will be 72-hole stroke-play events, with a 36-hole cut coming at the Tour’s standard 60 and ties.

Golf Channel will carry four-round coverage of all four events.


Finals’ Tournament Particulars

Hotel Fitness Championship

·         The Championship will be a first-time event on the Tour in 2013

·         Host Sycamore Hills Golf Club was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened for play in 1989.  It has enjoyed “top 100 U.S.” and top-five status in Indiana in select golf course rankings and hosted numerous events including the Indiana State Amateur, Junior PGA Championship and USGA Open and Amateur qualifiers.

·         The course plays to a par of 72 at 7,275 yards

·         The Western Golf Association, host organization of the BMW Championship on the PGA TOUR, will be the host organization

·         The tournament will benefit the WGA’s Evans Scholars Foundation

Chiquita Classic

·         The 2012 Chiquita Classic will be played Sept. 27-30 for the first time in the Charlotte area

·         The Club at Longview opened for play in 2003

·         Course plays to a par of 72 at 7,065 yards

·         NASCAR legend Richard Petty will serve as this year’s honorary chairman

·         Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation / Charlotte Chapter is the primary beneficiary, with a portion of tournament proceeds earmarked for The First Tee of Charlotte and the Petty Family Foundation

·         HNS of Dublin, Ohio, host of The Memorial on the PGA TOUR, will provide tournament management.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship

·         The 2012 tournament was played July 26-29

·         The host Ohio State University Golf Club / Scarlet Course, originally opened for play in 1938.

·         The course plays to a par of 71 at 7,455 yards.

·         First played in 2007, the tournament has featured a unique college All-American eligibility component and seen college stars win three times, including 2012 (Ben Kohles).  The All-American component will not be a part of the 2013 event.

·         More than $2.1 million has been raised through the 2011 Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus for charity since the tournament’s inception.

·         HNS of Dublin, Ohio will provide tournament management in Columbus as well.


Got all that?

Previous posts for recommended reading include:

*Inside the Players Meeting: The Tour Presents Q-School Deathwatch

*PGA Tour releases new qualifying system for graduating on the Tour